AN ACT TO PROTECT CHILDREN FROM SEXUAL ABUSE BY INCREASING PROSECUTORIAL OPTIONS FOR DELAYED REPORTS OF CHILD ABUSE, TO EXPAND THE DUTY TO REPORT CHILD ABUSE, TO PROTECT CHILDREN FROM ONLINE PREDATORS, TO EXTEND THE STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS FOR A CIVIL ACTION FOR CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE SO THAT A PLAINTIFF HAS UNTIL AGE THIRTY-EIGHT TO COMMENCE AN ACTION, AND TO REQUIRE TRAINING ON CHILD SEX ABUSE AND SEX TRAFFICKING FOR SCHOOL PERSONNEL.
House committee substitute makes the following changes to the 4th edition.
Amends new GS 14-318.6 as follows. Eliminates the defined term crime of abuse. Instead, defines serious bodily injury, serious physical injury, sexually violent offense, and violent offense. Adds to the defined term juvenile, specifying that the age of the juvenile at the time of the abuse of offense governs for purposes of the statute. Now requires any person 18 years or older who knows or should have reasonably known that a juvenile has been or is the victim of a violent offense, sexual offense, or misdemeanor child abuse, to immediately report the case to the appropriate law enforcement agency in the county where the juvenile resides or is found (previously, required a person or institution who suspects a juvenile has been the victim of a felony or a crime of abuse to immediately report as provided). Amends the information required of the report to include, if known, the name, address, and age of the person who committed the offense, the location of the offense, and the nature and extent of any injury or condition resulting from the offense or abuse (was, abuse). Modifies the penalty provisions to now make it a Class 1 misdemeanor for any person 18 years or older who knows or should have reasonably known that a juvenile was the victim of a violent offense, a sexual offense, or misdemeanor child abuse and knowingly or willfully fails to make the required report or prevent another from making the required report (mirroring the modified duty provisions). Grants civil and criminal immunity to anyone who makes a report in good faith, cooperates with law enforcement, or testifies resulting from a law enforcement report or investigation.
Adds a new duty for any law enforcement officer who finds, as a result of a report, evidence that a juvenile may be abused, neglected, or dependent, to make an oral report as soon as practicable and make a subsequent written report to the director of the department of social services within 48 hours after discovery of the evidence. Requires the director to make a prompt and thorough assessment to determine whether protective services should be provided or the complaint filed as a petition.
Clarifies that the statute does not affect statutory privileges, as specified.
Amends GS 15-4 to identify five misdemeanor crimes which must be charged within 10 years of the commission of the crime (under current law, the statute of limitations for misdemeanor is two years; previously, amended to extend the statute of limitations to 10 years for crimes of abuse). The identified misdemeanors include: failure to report abuse, neglect, dependency, or death due to maltreatment; sexual battery; indecent liberties between children; misdemeanor child abuse; and failure to report crimes against juveniles.
Modifies the proposed changes to GS 14-202.5, making it a Class H felony for a high-risk sex offender to pose falsely as a person under 16 years old online with the intent to commit an unlawful sex act with a person the offender believes is under 16 years old (previously, did not include mens rea). Modifies the qualifications for a high-risk sex offender, now including that the registered sex offender is a recidivist, with one offense against a person under 18 years old (previously, required recidivist status to be based on an offense against a person under 18 years old).
Eliminates the proposed changes to GS 14-208.7, which required sex offender registration forms for high risk sex offenders to include IP addresses under the registrant's control or custody. Makes conforming deletions to proposed GS 14-208.11(a)(11) and GS 14-208.9(g).
Makes organizational and technical changes. Amends the act's long title.